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Do Google Searches Help in Nowcasting Private Consumption?

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  • Konstantin Kholodilin
  • Maximilian Podstawski
  • Boriss Siliverstovs

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether the Google search activity can help in nowcasting the year-on-year growth rates of monthly US private consumption using a real-time data set. The Google-based forecasts are compared to those based on a benchmark AR(1) model and the models including the consumer surveys and financial indicators. According to the Diebold-Mariano test of equal predictive ability, the null hypothesis can be rejected suggesting that Google-based forecasts are significantly more accurate than those of the benchmark model. At the same time, the corresponding null hypothesis cannot be rejected for models with consumer surveys and financial variables. Moreover, when we apply the test of superior predictive ability (Hansen, 2005) that controls for possible data-snooping biases, we are able to reject the null hypothesis that the benchmark model is not inferior to any alternative model forecasts. Furthermore, the results of the model confidence set (MCS) procedure (Hansen et al., 2005) suggest that the autoregressive benchmark is not selected into a set of the best forecasting models. Apart from several Google-based models, the MCS contains also some models including survey-based indicators and financial variables. We conclude that Google searches do help improving the nowcasts of the private consumption in US.

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantin Kholodilin & Maximilian Podstawski & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Do Google Searches Help in Nowcasting Private Consumption?," KOF Working papers 10-256, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:10-256
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-006070977
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D'Amuri, Francesco & Marcucci, Juri, 2009. "'Google it!' Forecasting the US unemployment rate with a Google job search index," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-32, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:1-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nikolaos Askitas & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2015. "The internet as a data source for advancement in social sciences," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 2-12, April.
    3. repec:wly:jforec:v:36:y:2017:i:5:p:483-496 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fondeur, Y. & Karamé, F., 2013. "Can Google data help predict French youth unemployment?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 117-125.
    5. Dirk Ulbricht & Konstantin A. Kholodilin & Tobias Thomas, 2017. "Do Media Data Help to Predict German Industrial Production?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(5), pages 483-496, August.
    6. Kholodilin, Konstantin A. & Siliverstovs, Boriss, 2012. "Measuring regional inequality by internet car price advertisements: Evidence for Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 414-417.
    7. Rose, Andrew K. & Spiegel, Mark M., 2012. "Dollar illiquidity and central bank swap arrangements during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 326-340.
    8. Smith, Geoffrey Peter, 2012. "Google Internet search activity and volatility prediction in the market for foreign currency," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 103-110.
    9. Vicente, María Rosalía & López-Menéndez, Ana J. & Pérez, Rigoberto, 2015. "Forecasting unemployment with internet search data: Does it help to improve predictions when job destruction is skyrocketing?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 132-139.
    10. Gomes, Pedro & Taamouti, Abderrahim, 2016. "In search of the determinants of European asset market comovements," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 103-117.

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